Staying away from crowds, travelling in small groups and camping in deserted areas to relax in nature is a new trend among many Vietnamese people.
Couple Vũ Thanh Hà and Trương Minh in Hà Nội both enjoy camping.
Every two weeks, they take their two daughters for a picnic in their car on weekend. Sometimes, they go with other couples with children of around the same age.
The end to choose places within 50-80km from central Hà Nội.
One Saturday, they may swim in the Bôi River in the northern province of Hòa Bình, some 70km west of Hà Nội. On a Sunday, the children may play hide and seek at Đồng Đò Lake, in Sóc Sơn District on the western outskirts of the city.
The couple relax at Đồng Đò Lake near Hà Nội. VNS Photo Trương Vị
“Both of us work online while the children study online for the whole week,” said Hà. “The same routine has made us bored. I want the children to take deep breaths of fresh air in quiet places, where they can run, ride bikes and we have romantic BBQs out in nature.”
Hà said before the pandemic, they used to take their children for lunch in a supermarket after shopping, or go to the zoo or the cinema.
“All those familiar destinations are closed. Yet the children should be entertained still,” she said.
They take camping equipment in the car including fishing rods, life jackets, tents, BBQ sets and battery-charged fans. They also prepare some well-marinated meat or seafood.
Children play at the Bôi River in Hòa Bình Province. VNS Photo Trương Vị
“When the weather is fine, such a picnic is refreshing,” Minh said. “I like fishing. In the meantime, my wife can read a book or play with the children.”
They return home afterwards refreshed and ready for a new week in the house, he said.
Phạm Thanh Phương, another Hanoian, chooses closers places for his family’s picnics on the outskirts of the city like Bản Rõm Ecological Tourism Sites, Ðồng Mô Camping Sport, Hàm Lợn Mountain, or Ba Vì National Park.
A one-day trip is much cheaper and no less fun, he said, adding that they can always stay at a homestay or hotel for the night if they feel like it.
He said the tourism sites offer BBQ meals so sometimes he even does not prepare any food for the trip.
Phan Thiết Long, a bank clerk in the southern province of Khánh Hòa, has the same hobby. He often visits scenic places within the province like Am Chúa Lake (Diên Khánh District) or Đá Giăng Stream (Cam Lâm District).
Camping can be fun and educational activity for children. VNS Photo Lê Hương
Long said this way of travelling saves money and time and is easy to arrange around his schedule.
Young travellers have shared in various travelling groups that Khánh Hòa is a paradise for camping as it hosts various kinds of camping areas from the sea, river, streams to lakes and waterfalls.
Popular destinations include Am Chúa Lake, Suối Hành Lake (Cam Ranh City), Suối Trầu Lake (Ninh Hòa Town), Cô Tiên Mountain (Nha Trang City), waterfalls in Khánh Sơn and Khánh Vĩnh districts and beaches in Đầm Môn (Vạn Ninh District).
Long said the most important thing for an overnight picnic is security, so he often asks more experienced travellers for advice on social networks.
Lê Hoàng Anh, a tour guide in HCM City, is unemployed due to COVID-19.
He goes for picnics every weekend with his friends to relax from the stress of unemployment and to prepare for his tour trekking job after the pandemic.
They travel by motorbikes to deserted areas near the city.
Last week they camped for two days at Dinh Mountain in Bà Rịa - Vũng Tàu Province, which is home to forests, mountains and streams.
Trekking in Dinh Mountain in Bà Rịa Vũng Tàu Province. Photo dulichhanhtrinhviet.com
"Camping in nature with some close friends is even safer than staying inside a crowded city,” he said.
According to Nguyễn Hương Giang, an official working in the tourism sector, various new camping sites offer services like colourful tents and BBQ sets.
“To enhance people’s awareness of the environment and enrich visitors’ experience in local culture, many camping sites have offered other activities like visiting nearby handicraft village or fishing with rods and nets,” she said.
"Popular camping sites include Sơn Tinh Camp (Hà Nội), Cảnh Dương Beach Camp (Huế), Trung Lương Camping Site (Bình Ðịnh Province), Tanyoli Tourism Site (Ninh Thuận Province) and Coco Beach Camp (Bình Thuận Province)."
Camping site at Đồng Đò Lake on the western outskirt of Hà Nội. VNS Photo Trương Vị
“To develop camping trend in a green and environmentally-friendly way, people should bear in mind to 'leave nothing but footprints' at the site,” said Mai Nhật Hoàng, a frequent picnicker in HCM City.
Hoàng also said during the COVID-19 pandemic, campers should also remember the health ministry's guidance to stay healthy by wearing masks, using antiseptic solutions, keeping their distance from others, filling in health declarations, and avoiding mass gatherings. VNS